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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The range of interpretations of Bonhoeffer’s life and thought continues to expand. Because he lived during dramatic times and made fateful decisions that placed him in grave danger, people inside and outside the Christian community are continually reassessing his contemporary relevance. As a way of demonstrating Bonhoeffer’s unique place in the religious imagination, this chapter explores some of the diverse and conflicting ways his legacy has been appropriated in the years since his death. Three constellations of ‘readings and receptions’ will be reviewed: the radical Bonhoeffer shaped by the secularizing theologians of the 1960s, the post-Holocaust Bonhoeffer fashioned by advocates of Jewish–Christian reconciliation, and the populist Bonhoeffer that has emerged in the second decade of the current century. Those who care about Bonhoeffer will do well to pay close attention to the ebb and flow of his reception as uninformed and politicized readings of his legacy become more common.

Keywords: radical theology, post-Holocaust theology, populism, contemporary relevance, legacy

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